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Economic indicators slip after steady gains

Nye County taxable sales figures were down 35.8 percent in July compared to the same month a year ago, according to a report released recently by the Nevada Department of Taxation.

County merchants collected $37.5 million in taxable sales in July, compared to $58.42 million in July 2013, but the July 2013 figures were inflated by the construction of the Crescent Dunes solar project. Specialty trade contractors generated $19.4 million in taxable sales that month, in July 2014 it dropped to only $925,904, accounting for $18.4 million of the $20.9 million decrease.

For the fiscal year that ended June 30, taxable sales in Nye County were down 24.9 percent.

Since SolarReserve, builder of the 110-megawatt solar plant near Tonopah, is eligible for renewable energy tax credits, the drop in taxable sales aren’t reflected in consolidated taxes received by Nye County, which includes predominately sales taxes, but also cigarette, liquor, real personal property tax and general services taxes. Nye County collected $13.2 million in consolidated tax for the 2013-14 fiscal year that ended June 30, a decrease from the $13.9 million in FY 2012-13 ending June 30, 2013.

Food and beverage stores had a 5.9 percent increase in taxable sales in July 2014, $1.88 million compared to the $1.78 million in July 2013; building material sales increased 4.1 percent from $2.55 million to $2.66 million; general merchandise stores showed a 1.2 percent gain from $3.75 million to $3.79 million; while food services and drinking places had a 6.2 percent increase in taxable sales, from $2.9 million to $3.1 million. But the industrial sector showed decreases, including a 17.2 percent decrease in chemical manufacturing from $3.4 million to $2.8 million;, a 21.8 percent drop in machinery manufacturing from $2.27 million to $1.78 million; an 11.6 percent drop in merchant wholesalers of durable goods, from $3.9 million to $3.48 million and a 6.9 percent decrease for the non-store retailers from $1.09 million to $1.02 million. Taxable sales were about the same for motor vehicle and parts dealers with $5.2 million in taxable sales.

The Nye County unemployment rate fell to 8.7 percent in August, a drop from 9.4 percent in July, according to the latest figures from the Nevada Department of Employment Training and Rehabilitation (DETR). In January the Nye County unemployment rate was 10.1 percent.

The state employment service reported Nye County had a labor force of 16,990 residents in August, of which 15,520 were employed and 1,470 unemployed. By comparison, in August 2013 Nye County had an unemployment rate of 11.4 percent.

The Pahrump Building and Safety Department issued 27 building permits in September, for a total of 274 building permits so far in calendar year 2014, compared to 253 for the same period in 2013. The building and safety department issued only three permits for single-family homes in August after issuing 12 permits in July, which was the highest number of single-family housing starts in one month since the Great Recession began. The department issued 54 permits for building single-family homes so far in 2014, in the first eight months of 2013 there were 37 single-family buidling permits issued.

Blackburn and Associates took out a $27,721 building permit for the new 104-room, Holiday Inn Express at 861 S. Highway 160 in June.

The Nye County gaming win for the 11 non-restricted locations was up 4.82 percent in August 2014 with $3.7 million collected, an increase over $3.56 million in August 2013. For the quarter ending Aug. 31, the county gaming win rose 4.9 percent from the same period in 2013. For the year from Sept. 1, 2013 to Aug. 31, 2014 the county gaming win was up 1.03 percent with $48.28 million in earnings, compared to $47.8 million from September 2012 to August 2013.

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